May 20th 12 8:56 am
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My 5000friend experience

by dujoducom » May 20th 12 8:56 am

Well, I finally bit the bullet and ordered a couple of pots from 5000friend. I read all the content on teachat, negative and positive (yes, there is 5000friend positive reviews here) and reached this conclusion:

"Obviously these teapots aren't from the Qing dynasty, but in terms of appearance they look about on par with the other sub $100 pots I've seen. It says they've been cleaned and are ready to use, so how bad can they really be? Besides, I like that there are alot of smaller (~120ml) pots to choose from and the variety is better than that of Yunnan Sourcing. And someone lead tested one of them, they must be completely safe!!!(sic)"

With that being my line of thinking, I took the plunge and ordered two, each costing about $25. After placing the order I had some regret, and decided to contact 5000friend and ask them up front about the quality of their pots.

My e-mail:
Hello,

I'm interested in buying teapots from you, but I've noticed that on many websites people claim that you make your pots look older by using "shoe polish" etc. I have a couple of questions:

1) Do you purposely make your tea pots look older than they really are by adding something to the surface?

2) Do your pots come clean and ready to safely brew tea to drink?

Thank you
Their response:
Hello,
Have a nice day! I have do business in ebay about seven years,and few buyer claim that I make pots look older by using "shoe polish" etc. I don't purposely make tea pots look older ,and I clean teapot instead of add "shoe polish" for safely brew tea .And buyer can clean teapots again thoroughly if they are strict with tea.
It is easy to identify "shoe polish" etc , the teapot smell unsavory.
Thank you!
Best regards
"Great!" I thought, and felt a little more comfortable with my purchase.

On Friday I received my pots, and I have to tell you we must have VERY different versions of "safely brew tea" and "clean" because what I received was nothing short of horrifying. Both had noticeable rings at varying heights inside, from either water, tea, tea leaves, or who knows what, that had been resting for who knows how long in the pot. Both pots had a lot of organic matter build up in various places as well. I really wish I would have taken "before" photos of the pots, because they really were nasty, no one would EVER brew tea in these pots as I received them, despite the description on ebay stating: "Teapot has been cleaned in hot water,can use it directly."

Needless to say, I was feeling kind of ripped off at that point. I knew it was a bit of a gamble, but because I liked the size and shape of the pots and I couldn't find comparable wares anywhere else I was bummed that I might not be able to use them.

I started scouring teachat, marshaln's blog, and google, for answers. One of the pots had a pretty "unsavory" smell, and the other had an odd mineral buildup on the inside. Armed with some knowledge, I got to work...

1) I boiled both pots for about an hour.

2) I cut up a new "scotch brite" pad and tested it on the bottom of one of the pots.... no scratches! I scrubbed them inside thoroughly with a wet section of the pad. This got off a decent amount of the grime, but no luck at all on the mineral deposit area.

3) The next day, I went to the store and picked up some bleach. Mixed 1 cap load with one gallon of water and let the pots soak for a good 3-4 hours. This really cleaned up the pots, a couple spots that I couldn't reach well with the scotch brite were totally clean, including inside the spout and the chop mark. Unfortunately the bleach did absolutely nothing for the mineral deposits. I boiled the pots for an hour to get the residual bleach smell out, and it worked fine- no bleachy odor, and one of the pots at this point is totally to a level where I'd comfortably drink from it after seasoning.

4) Before moving to some sort of acid to break down the mineral deposit, I decided to attack it with some steel wool. This really worked! The clay is quite resilient, because I can't notice it being scratched by the steel wool. After putting some good elbow grease into it, the mineral crystallization is mostly removed, but in it's wake there is a a bit of a stain that looks a little "chalky" so I think there are still some minerals in there. Maybe I should have attacked it with the steel wool prior to bleaching... oh well. I kind of want to try citric acid on this pot, because the inside is generally a bit "chalky" looking compared to the outside. Have to do some more research... but I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to get it drinkable.

Today, after spending half a weekend on this, I'm actually quite happy with the pots. I think I'll be comfortable drinking from both of them. That being said, part of me wishes I would have taken the nearly $100 and just waited for something good to show on jing's or another reputable vendor. I also think it is kind of bogus to market the pots as being directly usable, I don't think everyone ordering would be prepared to spend the time as I did to clean up the pots.

I'll post some pictures another time, but to me the clay actually looks pretty decent, much more similar to the zhuni reference photos I've seen compared to my $30 yunnan sourcing pots which must use more modern clay (but I'm still very happy with them, and didn't have to kill almost an entire day cleaning them...).

Just thought I'd give my $0.02 for anyone debating about purchasing like I me, and also to give a rundown of my cleaning methods for input. I think some people might cringe at the steel wool and scotch brite, but honestly they didn't scratch the pot at all and in the case of the mineral deposit I felt it was more or less a "last resort" but if anyone has any ideas about it please let me know, I think citric acid might be the way to go....

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May 20th 12 9:56 am
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Re: My 5000friend experience

by bagua7 » May 20th 12 9:56 am

These two pots posted recently in the Official Yixing Show Off thread were purchased from that vendor:

http://tinyurl.com/7w4wfuu

tingjunkie's

http://tinyurl.com/88hm4z9

Mine

I don't know about tjk's but I am very happy with my pot and certainly it didn't arrive in "horrific" the condition you just described.

So, are you happy with the pot now, which is what really counts?
Last edited by bagua7 on May 25th 12 10:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

May 20th 12 5:19 pm
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Re: My 5000friend experience

by dujoducom » May 20th 12 5:19 pm

Yes, like I said today I am happy with the pots, but it mystifies me that they would be described as "clean" and "ready to brew." would I order again? Probably if I saw something unique, but only if I feel prepared to spend a day or two getting the pots cleaned, both needed some serious TLC. I'll post some pics later today, really kicking myself for not taking a "before" shot.

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May 20th 12 5:40 pm
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Re: My 5000friend experience

by TIM » May 20th 12 5:40 pm

dujoducom wrote:Yes, like I said today I am happy with the pots, but it mystifies me that they would be described as "clean" and "ready to brew." would I order again? Probably if I saw something unique, but only if I feel prepared to spend a day or two getting the pots cleaned, both needed some serious TLC. I'll post some pics later today, really kicking myself for not taking a "before" shot.
I highly recommend not to brew tea with it yet. Try to just pour boiling water into the pot and wait for 5 mins, at the same time pour a cup of the same boiling water into a glass cup. Sample both water from the pot and the glass one surp one after another to see if there is off taste from the pot.

May 21st 12 12:42 am
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Re: My 5000friend experience

by dujoducom » May 21st 12 12:42 am

TIM wrote: I highly recommend not to brew tea with it yet. Try to just pour boiling water into the pot and wait for 5 mins, at the same time pour a cup of the same boiling water into a glass cup. Sample both water from the pot and the glass one surp one after another to see if there is off taste from the pot.
Good idea! Before I season/use for tea I will definitely do this.

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May 21st 12 12:57 am
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Re: My 5000friend experience

by Chip » May 21st 12 12:57 am

... keep your phone nearby in case you need to call 911 ... :lol:

May 21st 12 3:59 am
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Re: My 5000friend experience

by dujoducom » May 21st 12 3:59 am

Haha, well I was feeling confident until that comment, thanks Chip!

Here are some photos:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dujoducom/ ... 824427796/
sorry, can't post clickable URLs, yet.

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May 21st 12 4:19 am
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Re: My 5000friend experience

by Chip » May 21st 12 4:19 am

:( Well, I feel bad now, so I made your link clickable! :mrgreen:

You can also post photos on the forum using the bbc code within size restrictions of 640 pixels wide.

May 21st 12 4:52 am
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Re: My 5000friend experience

by dujoducom » May 21st 12 4:52 am

Thanks for the tip Chip.

Going to use this sucker for wuyi yancha (120ml):
Image

Going to use this one for ball type oolong, formosa "high mountain" taiwanese stuff & TGY/anxi unless I have a change of heart and decide on just one or the other :) (140ml)
Image

To my eye, the clay looks pretty decent (see the flickr set where you can REALLY zoom in), but I'd be curious to hear what anyone else has to say.

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May 25th 12 10:46 pm
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Re: My 5000friend experience

by bagua7 » May 25th 12 10:46 pm

I got a tallish one that brews excellent gaoshan oolong. I am very happy with that pot.

I also got this small one, just a couple of weeks ago, and brews yancha really nicely.

Image

Thin-walled zhu ni (110mL)

Note: Gee iphones take crappy photos, yuck. :(

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May 26th 12 3:29 am
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Re: My 5000friend experience

by tingjunkie » May 26th 12 3:29 am

So far, I do like the pot I have from 5000friend. It passes every basic test a Yixing should pass, but somehow things just don't add up!

It's safe to say that 1) the pots are not as old as he claims, and 2) that many of his pots used to be coated in something to give them a fake patina (maybe some still are). But here's the thing... once thoroughly cleaned, some of these pots seem like fairly decent clay and passable craftsmanship. The type of pots where if he kept them clean from the start, and just advertised them as modern, people would be happy to pay the "buy it now" price and he would probably sell quite a lot of them.

Can someone with more knowledge of the Yixing market chime in here and give us the scoop about what's going on? We know the pots aren't as old as he claims, but is it fake clay just good enough to fool most of us amateurs? Are they made by student potters attempting to copy older works as a part of the learning process and just bought very cheaply? I want to get to the bottom of this mystery! :lol:

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May 27th 12 5:06 am
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Re: My 5000friend experience

by achyle » May 27th 12 5:06 am

+1 tingjunkie
I’m also very interested to hear different opinions from people who have knowledge in this field.
This seller is selling pots from very known studios, sometimes he even has multiple copies.
I bought 2 of his pots, I knew what I was getting so I wasn’t expecting much, when I opened the box I could smell melted plastic, I cleaned one of the pot and let it soak in bleach and water for 24hrs, that plastic smell is still there as of today, I’ll never put my tea in these pots, it’s just not safe in my opinion.

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Re: My 5000friend experience

by tingjunkie » May 27th 12 6:19 am

Hmmm... maybe he buys "ruined" pots from fire and flood sales (and other strange circumstances), and uses their unique odors, staining, and coatings as "proof" of their nefarious vintages?

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May 27th 12 10:17 am
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Re: My 5000friend experience

by bagua7 » May 27th 12 10:17 am

Hmm...careful with turning 5000friend's pots into the Asch Paradigm.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ETEusDt ... re=related

My two pots are in perfect condition after being soaked in baking soda to remove the existing grime and then followed by the boiling water treatment.

They smell like clay and brew excellent tea.

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Re: My 5000friend experience

by Ludwig-1954 » May 27th 12 4:09 pm

Good evening Bagua7

You have a good point with Aschs Paradigm. I have quite a number of
pots from 5000friend because I am experimenting with the shape of
teapots and its effect on the brew. I needed a standard clay, preferably
Zhuni, and small size.

So far, I have had only positive experiences with 5000friend goods and service. What I did notice however, was the odour of the boxes (glue, plastics etc.). Sometimes so strong, that I feared arrest for drug abuse :-)
This was a small problem with the Zhuni Pots, treatment
with natron, natron and citric acid, citric acid soon good rid of any odour.

With two more porous pots, ZiNi and DuanNi as well as with Hong Ni pots
from another supplier the problem was greater. I got rid of any lingering odour after treatment by placing the pots in the direct sun for some days and then filling the still warm pots with with dried used Tealeaves. This did the job very well.

I always keep and dry spent tealeaves, they prove invaluable for binding unpleasant odours, say in the linen cupboard or inside shoes. A trick I learned from my polish Nanny Sosza many years ago, may her name be cherished and remembered.

Best regards
Patrick B. Ludwig